Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A Collector No More?

I was ready to spend tons of cash. I was geared up to either ship a box of goodies home from San Diego or check extra luggage on the flight back to Denver. I was prepared to defend my spending when Stephanie asked how much everything cost.

But I certainly wasn’t expecting this.

Not only did I come home from the San Diego Comic-Con empty handed, but I didn’t even have that strong of a desire to buy anything in the first place. “Is this for real?” I asked as I walked and walked and walked, looking at all the cool shit I could buy. “Am I really not interested in anything?”

The first time through the booths I was pretty overwhelmed. It wasn’t that I was disinterested in all the wares for sale, it was more about the fact that I didn’t want to make any rash decisions. If I had a limited budget, I wanted to see what was available and map out my spending.

Quickly enough, though, two thoughts occurred to me simultaneously. First, I realized that no matter what I bought, I wasn’t prepared to keep it in mint condition. I certainly wasn’t going to put any books in my bag, and I didn’t have a poster tube to keep any prints or original art safe from the mobs of people bumping into each other. The second thing I realized was that there was simply no way I could decide what to get. I mean, how to you determine if a Frank Cho sketchbook is better than the other 200 available at the show? Or at artist’s alley, how do you determine which artist’s work you want to buy? Hell, once you did pick an artist, how do you narrow your pick down to one piece when all 50 look damn impressive?

So within two hours of entering the door, my brain was already shutting down. I had no desire to buy. Sure, I continued to look, but my wallet wasn’t burning a hole in my pocket like it usually does.

Hard to believe, I know, but that’s the way it went. It was pretty surreal. But there’s another obvious reason for the way this all went down. Although this was my first convention and I wanted to make the most of it as a fan, by primary goal was to meet some of the writers and artists I’ve worked with. I was there to network and start learning the ropes of what it’ll take to actually get a foot in the industry.

In a way, I felt like I was in limbo the entire trip. I wasn’t a fan, yet I wasn’t a professional either. At the same time, however, I was a little of both. I didn’t want to have a handful of loot from one publisher while I talked to artists from another. But I also didn’t want to not have that handful of loot. It was confusing. And tiring. But that might’ve been from the lack of water and food and all that walking.

Funny thing, though. When I got home, I searched online for several hours to find all the things I didn’t buy. For example, that Cho print I lusted after for awhile was on eBay for twice what it was selling for at the con. Same with his sketch book. It got even weirder when, instead of being disappointed, I determined I had made the right decision. Crazy huh?

Despite all that, one thing I still have my eye on is the Star Wars Animated statuettes from Gentle Giant. I don’t really need them, and I don’t have the money or the space, but damn they’re pretty. Maybe I’ll be picking them up sometime soon, since it’s obvious I’m totally not interested in buying comics.

Then again, I’m not really even that interested in those. I think it’s just the collector in my trying to find something, anything, that’ll keep himself alive until the urge to buy really kicks in somewhere down the line…because let’s face it, that urge is just around the corner.


Anonymous said...

Empty-handed and no In-n-Out Burger in your gut. That's just incomprehensible. I mean, who goes to SoCal (twice in a month!) and doesn't go to In-n-Out Burger? Is that even legal?

Chris Partin said...

Hey, man! Congrats on the first real challenge to your month away from collecting. You sure put yourself in the fire by going to SDCC, but you did us proud!

James W. Powell said...

I feel like a let down to all the collectors of the world.

Rich said...

For my part, I'm impressed! And maybe, just maybe, I'm starting to feel the burnout a little too...

I've started leaving books on the shelf intending to get them next week, then not bothering...it disturbs me...

Chris Partin said...

I've done that quiet a bit lately, too, but I think its just because I'm more about "this week" and if I miss something from last week - I've forgotten about it. I don't "collect" per se anymore - I just read the books and 4-6 months later try and sell them. I've got a handful of titles I "collect" but that's it.

James W. Powell said...

Speaking of selling, I'll be getting rid of pretty much everything ASAP. If I'm not into moderns right now, now's the time to start cleaning up and making space.

Jason said...

James - you should post this on the Postcards Production Blog, it's a good story for it.

I kind of think the other reason you didn't buy anything is because I scared you by saying creators look unprofessional walking up to other creators with their hands full of comic stuffs. But I’m just a party-pooper, I guess.